Weather doesn’t delay work in State Senate

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Despite the rough weather conditions, the Senate convened this week and worked on a variety of legislation. I hope you are managing the weather safely and have avoided problems.

This week, the Senate passed my legislation unanimously, Senate Bill 59, which makes certain contractual language null and void regarding damaged items received from commercial transporters. In short, this would protect trucking companies from clauses in shipping contracts that require them to assume liability for all accidents even if they’re not at fault. The provision would prevent the motor carriers from having to agree contractually to pay any claim which may arise from the contract regardless of fault. Thirty-nine other states have passed similar legislation.

Other key bills passed this week included Senate Bill 1, which I co-sponsored, and Senate Bill 58.

Senate Bill 1 passed 24-14 on Thursday. This measure would authorize the General Assembly to block the implementation of administrative regulations it finds deficient. The measure’s sponsors say this would allow the legislature to better ensure the executive branch does not overreach the intentions of law. Opponents argue this would give the legislative branch too much power and unsettle the co-equal branches of government.

Senate Bill 58 proposes another constitutional amendment that abolishes the office of the state Treasurer. With this measure, Kentucky would save at least $2 million in the first year, and $750,000 in subsequent years. The duties of the office would be absorbed by the Finance Cabinet.

Senate Bill 87, passed on Wednesday, would allow high school juniors and seniors to use Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) money to pay for up to six dual-credit hours at colleges and universities in the state. The bill would also allow these students to use the scholarship money in high school to begin career or technical education toward professional licensures or certificates.

One of our goals has always been to provide Kentucky students with the best educational opportunities possible and to prepare them for fulfilling careers. That’s what this bill does. The earlier students become engaged in post-secondary education, the more likely they are to succeed. This would give students a jump start on college and is another option for students to best utilize their hard-earned KEES money.

This is just a quick snapshot of the work this week. There are many other issues being discussed in Frankfort and I encourage you to join in those discussions. Our representative form of government was designed to give the people of Kentucky a voice. You have a big say in the laws affecting you. You don’t have to be part of a special interest group or lobby agency, nor do you have to make campaign contributions. You don’t even have to be old enough vote. You just have to be a citizen willing to get involved in the process. Your fellow Kentuckians proved that this and every week of session.

Our committee meetings, and chamber proceedings, are open to the public, aired on KET and streamed live and archived online at www.ket.org. If you can’t drive up, then tune in.

If you have any issues or concerns, please call my office in Frankfort at 502-564-8100 or toll free at 1-800-372-7181. I appreciate your time and input.


Senator Ernie Harris (R-Crestwood) represents the 26th District which includes Oldham County as well as a portion of Jefferson County.